Biodiversity-rich rangeland ecosystems form nearly 54 per cent of the geographical area of the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) and provide vital ecosystem goods and services to local communities as well as nearly 1.3 billion people living downstream. However, the effects of climatic and anthropogenic factors are threatening the health of high-altitude rangelands and their interfaces with other ecosystems, such as peatland and timberline, which affect not only the livelihoods of local people, but also the sustainability of the entire region.
The workshop on Research and Management Priorities for High Altitude Rangelands and their Interfaces in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, organized by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), will bring together partners and international experts working on ecosystem interfaces of high-altitude rangelands to identify knowledge needs and priorities and to develop an advocacy plan for high-altitude rangelands in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region. The workshop will build on ICIMOD’s efforts to promote the conservation of rangelands and regional cooperation in transboundary landscapes, including the Kailash Sacred Landscape, as well as identify development opportunities for local communities dependent on high-altitude rangeland ecosystems.
Key issues to be covered during the workshop include:
- issues and challenges in high-altitude ecosystem interfaces, especially timberline and peatlands;
- priority research areas for further understanding the impacts of climate change and human activities on the stability of ecosystem interfaces; and
- sustainable, holistic measures to manage ecosystem interfaces.
Participants will develop a framework for collaborative monitoring and effective management of high-altitude rangelands and their interfaces and explore options for climate change adaptation and mitigation to improve the livelihoods of pastoral communities in the HKH region.
The workshop also aims to:
- initiate baseline studies with partner institutions to support scientific understanding and the conservation and management of high-altitude ecosystem interfaces in the HKH;
- promote transboundary cooperation in the conservation of high-altitude rangelands and development of climate change adaptation strategies;
- develop action plans with partner institutions for future mitigation and adaptation measures;
- develop projects in collaboration with regional member country institutions to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of communication, participation, and awareness about the conservation and management of rangelands and their interfaces;
- facilitate knowledge links between biodiversity conservation, ecosystem monitoring, greenhouse gas assessment in rangeland ecosystems.
Presentations during the workshop by nominated participants will focus on issues and challenges in protected areas and rangeland interfaces, particularly timberline and peatlands. A post-conference field trip for participants will also be arranged.